I was born today, many years ago. I cannot tell you what time, I didn’t ask mother what time I came to this world. I have no knowledge how many little stars carrying talents were spread above my head to grab, when I cried, “here I am Lord, let me start my mission and fulfill my destiny.”
I dated my living memory to when manoy Junior and I walked to the house of ‘Nang Mamay’ to start our education. She was a tall slender old woman, white haired, holding a stick that she used to frighten and discipline her pupils. In most cases, its function was to point where to start our day’s mental calisthenics. A small little book called “Caton” was our guide in learning the ABACADA at age five.
Let me enumerate the things I recall from early years to present:
- My family is first to my heart and mind. To all that I have and will become of me, if given another 20 years more to live, I owe it to God and to my family.
- My gratitude to those human angels sent by Lord Jesus Christ to guide, help and educate me about life in general. My high regards to the late ex-Cong. Jose M Alberto and his friends who made me learn the political intricacies and map of Catanduanes politics. I became a young Kagawad of Virac, Catanduanes because of him. Thanks also to one of his legacies to Catanduanes, the CSC (now CSU) where I taught for 17 years and later as part-timer, when I was a town councilor. I say a prayer of thanksgiving today to our God in behalf of Cong JMA and all graduates of this institution of learning and those who worked around the world, many of whom passed by our area during my watch at the international airport.
- I received a message from Pager of Associate Commissioner Jorge V Sarmiento, inviting me to join him at the Bureau of Immigration as permanent employee. I accepted the offer and turned my back to freebies from my parents: apartment, food and another domicile during Saturdays and Sundays, while teaching at Catanduanes State University and Catanduanes Colleges.
Catanduanes State University and Catanduanes Colleges made me learn how to think and talk in a professional way, while at Immigration, I was schooled on how to deal with people and when to say yes and no, so court cases can be avoided.
Sir Jorge was my model when I started my career at the Bureau of Immigration. His example is my motto that still rings up to now: honesty and professionalism. Whatever position of trust and responsibility given to me were paid with equal dedication to honor the man who gifted me an opportunity to advance in life. We cannot dismiss his contribution to what we (with the support of kind-hearted Joseph Abundo) have done to immigration officers from our province now working with the bureau. Not to mention the help of my singing buddy ex-congressman, Commissioner Marcelino ‘Nonoy’ Libanan, and Commissioner General Ricardo A. David, former Chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, who paid a surprise visit to one of the meetings of the Immigration Officers Association of the Philipines, to asked questions and be clarified why our overtime was three times higher than our salary.
Pardon me, Catanduanes Tribune fans, if I included this additional event; that day when Commissioner David arrived he was with our very own good-looking, capable CPA/lawyer Pio Rodulfo III, brother of Mayor Johnny Rodulfo of Bato and three more lawyers. Remembering what Atty. Pio told me later, he said, “I almost fell down from my chair while you were answering the General citing Section 7-A of the Immigration Law of 1940.”
Some of the nurses who attended to me during my darkest days are now with the bureau. They were the first who greeted me early morning today on my natal day. God made them meet me during a difficult challenge in my life, so they could become immigration officers of the Bureau of Immigration.
The Master Conductor is wielding HIS baton to synchronize our performance to bring the desired result. We are only players in HIS grand design.
“Happy birthday to Someone who is forever young!”